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PSNH crews head to Maine to help restore power

By Dave Solomon
New Hampshire Union Leader

December 24. 2013 11:50AM

PORTSMOUTH -- Line crews from Public Service of New Hampshire hit the road on Christmas Eve to help crews in Maine restore power to several communities hard hit by ice storms that left thousands facing the prospect of a cold, dark holiday.

Tens of thousands lost power as ice built up on roadways, trees and power lines in central and eastern Maine on Sunday and Monday. Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro Electric reported close to 100,000 customers without power at the height of the storm. By Tuesday morning, the number was down to 79,000.

A utility spokesman told the Portland Press Herald that some customers will be without power on Christmas, as crews continue a "multi-day restoration effort.”

The PSNH parent company, Northeast Utilities, is dispatching several dozen line trucks from its network, which also includes NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric. Nine PSNH crews were preparing to leave for Maine on Tuesday morning from the company's work center at 1700 Lafayette Road, according to PSNH spokesperson Martin Murray.

Although New Hampshire and Southern Maine escaped the brunt of the storm, "Maine still is in a world of hurt," he said.

Each crew consists of two linemen and support personnel, which adds up to a lot of PSNH workers who are likely to spend their holiday helping neighbors to the north.

PSNH had lined up extra crews in anticipation of more outages in New Hampshire as the storm bore down on the region over the weekend.

"We were well-prepared to respond," said Murray. "The forecast seemed to indicate that conditions were ripe for significant icing in New Hampshire, but we basically escaped unscathed."

PSNH did not experience any problems in New Hampshire until Monday, when a handful of scattered outages were reported. Normal operating conditions statewide were reported by Monday night, Murray said.


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